Thursday 26 August 2010

Beerex at the Red Cow this weekend

Red Cow, 6 Merthyr Road, Llwydcoed, Aberdare, CF44 0YE,
Beerex this weekend

Open Monday 6-12 (no food), Tuesday-Thursday 12-2.30, 6-12 (food 12-2, 6.30-9), Friday, Saturday, Sunday – open all day.

The Red Cow is situated on the steep road leading into Aberdare from Merthyr Tydfil and this pub is a haven in an area of closed pubs. The village of Llwydcoed was once home to six pubs but today the Red Cow is the last one remaining. The pub is set back from the main road and has its own car park alongside, there is also a bus stop directly outside, the number six from Merthyr to Aberdare runs twice an hour during the day. The Red Cow was built in the nineteenth century and has been sympathetically altered throughout the centuries. There is a small outside drinking area at the front with tables and benches and a central entrance door leads to the open-plan interior with the bar on the left and a raised seating area to the right. Six shining chrome-plated handpumps dispense real ales from an ever-changing selection of breweries and a local cider from International Cidermaker of the year Gwynt Y Ddraig. Chalkboards both inside and outside the pub inform the customers of which ales are available at the pub, recent guest beers have been from Rhymney, Breconshire, Wychwood, Celt Experience and Hop Back breweries and the landlord has a policy of stocking real ales from Welsh independent breweries wherever possible. Beers are even served in third of a pint glasses to encourage customers to taste beers they might not always order a pint of at the bar. Over 130 different real ales have been served here this year so far. Bottled beers include Marston's Pedigree, Courage Best and Grolsh Weissen.

Regular beer festivals are held in the pub throughout the year, with the next one being held over the August Bank Holiday weekend with over 30 different reals and ciders being on sale at the event.

To the rear of the pub is a restaurant and function room, this is decorated with a painting of Rorke's Drift and features a wood-burning fire in the winter. The military theme is continued throughout the pub with military insignia and memorabilia hanging up in various parts, a reminder of the landlord's previous career in the Parachute Regiment. The rear room leads out to a conservatory and another outside seating area, offering views over the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The Red Cow offers an extensive menu, using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible including rare breed pork sausages and organic Welsh beef steaks. Handcut chips and generous portions of food on the plate often leave the customers with no room for something from the desert menu.

The current landlord took over the pub in March 2008 and has steadily increased the real ale range from one handpump to the six that now serve great Welsh beers to the thirsty customers of Llwydcoed and those from further afield. The Red Cow may be the last pub in the village but offering excellent quality real ales and top quality food will insure its survival well into the future.

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Wednesday 25 August 2010

Future of pubs in Wales - video

There seems to be a few problems with embedding this video - link to the page is here - hopefully is should be visible below:

From Wales Online, the Future of pubs in Wales, needed a pint or two of Brains IPA after that.

Clytha Arms beerex this weekend

For those of you not going to Swansea for the beer festival this weekend the superb Clytha Arms will be hosting another one of its beer festivals. Set in its own grounds, the Clytha is one of the best pubs in Wales and the beer festivals are always popular with the customers.
The Clytha is on a bus route from Monmouth to Abergavenny, though the buses are infrequent and the last one heads back to Abergavenny around 1830 ish.

Google Map which says the Clytha is in Hereford not Monmouth!:

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Welcome to the twenty-first century Sams

That most traditional of all the UK breweries, Samuel Smith's have finally joined the Internet age and invested in a website. Don't expect anything too spectacular though, this is Sam's we are talking about. For locations about their pubs - they run around 305 of them there is a website featuring a map here.
It does come as surprise the number of pubs they actually run in London and a lot of them are classics such as Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and the Princess Louise.

For unofficial news of Sam's there is a website here.

As well as the Tadcaster Brewery, Sam Smith's also own the All Saints Brewery, Melbourn Brothers in Stamford, Lincolnshire and this has quite a good website.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Swansea Bay Beer Festival opens on Thursday

The second biggest beer festival in Wales will be opening its doors to the public this Thursday at 5pm when the Swansea Bay Beer Festival returns to the Brangwyn Hall.
Over 120 real ales, ciders and perries will  feature at this event, now an annual feature in the beer festival calender. As well as beers from local breweries such as Tomos Watkin, Neath Ales, Swansea and Brains, beers from across the UK will be featured as well as ciders and perries from Gwynt Y Ddraig, International Cider Maker of the Year and for the first time ever, ciders from the award-winning craft producer Llanblethian Orchards will make an appearance. Llanblethian Orchards cider is made from hand-picked apples and hand-pressed by three cider enthusiasts and there is no editorial bias whatsoever with regard to their products. No none at all.
The Brangwyn Hall is a fantastic venue for a festival and has a connection with Guinness which most people are unaware of. The somewhat risqué murals on the walls of the hall, painted by Frank Brangwyn, were originally meant for the House of Lords but were rejected by them. These artworks were commissioned by Lord Iveagh of the Guinness family and ended up in Swansea. So some 80 years later the decoration at this beer festival turns out to be supplied by Guinness! Joking aside, the Swansea Bay Beer Festival is a great weekend with lots of great beers and ciders, all served at cellar temperature via the extensive cooling system involved.

Opening times:
Thursday 26th August 2010 - 1700-2300
Friday 27th and Saturday 28th -  1200-2300

Admission: £5 for non-camra members, £3 for camra members
Admission includes glass and programme. (Tokens for beer to be purchased separately at the festival).
No advance tickets, all tickets to be purchased at the Brangwyn during opening times.

Children only allowed in the George Hall and food area until 8pm each day.
No children allowed in the main hall (The Brangwyn) at any time.

Thursday 9pm - The VIP`S
Friday 9pm - Ted Crooks Blues Highway
Saturday 3-5pm - Alltud
Saturday 7.30pm - Whitefern Mountain Spring Band.

From Brew Wales

From Brew Wales

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Wednesday 18 August 2010

Hanbury Arms, Caerleon

The historic Hanbury Arms in Caerleon has reopened after a refurbishment and owners SA Brain have brought this historic inn well and truly into the twenty-first century. The pub has had an extensive makeover and the interior appears more spacious than before as well as being better lit. The old, thick interior walls remain as do the large fireplaces. The separate restaurant area is still there, although with new tables. Menus on every table as well as the chalkboards advertise the extensive food range this pub has to offer. Daily specials on a chalkboard as well. The beer range is predominantly from Brains but with two guests from other breweries; the range today was Brains bitter, SA, Rev James, Marstons Long Hop and Greene King Abbot, okay it may not be a spectacular range but this is in a pub just outside of Newport so any range is a good thing.
To the side of the pub is a ruined tower, built by the Normans to defend the quay on the River Usk. Later, in the sixteenth century the Morgan family built this house alongside it and by 1720 it was in the hands of the Hanbury family of Pontypool who used it and the quay to trade iron from their Pontypool furnaces. it later became a pub with the name of the Hanbury Arms
In 1856, the Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson stayed at the inn for 6 weeks and wrote Idylls of the King here.
“The Usk murmurs by the windows and I sit like King Arthur at Caerleon", he wrote, also writing, "This is a most quiet, half- ruined village of about 1500 inhabitants”.

In those days the Hanbury brewed its own beer in a separate building, now demolished that was to one side of the pub. The medieval bridge was also next to the pub and a new bridge was opened in 1810.

By  1891 the local rowing team had their headquarters here, no doubt well-supported by the owner who was an Oxford blue rowing champion. The slipway by the side of the pub provided easy access to and from the River Usk.

 The Hanbury Arms on the right and the now demolished brewery on the left

1891 John Sherwood
Above: Price list from 1893
1901 Josiah Brown & Son
1904 Mrs Phoebe Rowe
1907 John Sherwood
1910 Merged with Eastern Valley Brewery Co Ltd under John Sherwood
1914 Hancocks Brewery of Cardiff
Hancocks ended up in the Bass Charrington Empire and in the 1990s the Hanbury had been sold to a small pub company who were later taken over in 2001 by Brains Brewery.

 In the 1950s Hancocks Brewery decided to illustrate their best pubs in prints featuring their dray horses
 A lot of artistic license was used in the picture, mainly that the bridge by the pub had been demolished by 1820 and Hancocks had not started to brew in Wales until the 1870s! The building to the right of the pub with the two chimneys is the former brewery.

Today the Hanbury Arms has a large car park and offers good beer, food all day and extensive outside drinking areas, whether overlooking the river or in the courtyard towards the front. The Hanbury Arms is also easly reached from Newport by a regular bus service:

NP18 1AA 

Google Map:

Sunday 15 August 2010

The First World War as a pub fight

The First World War, explained
as a pub fight...........
Germany, Austria and Italy are
stood together in the middle of
the pub, when Serbia bumps
into Austria, and spills Austria's
Austria demands Serbia buy it
a complete new suit, because
there are splashes on its
trouser leg.
Germany expresses its support
for Austria's point of view
Britain recommends that
everyone calm down a bit.
Serbia points out that it can't
afford a whole suit, but offers
to pay for cleaning Austria's
Russia and Serbia look at
Austria asks Serbia who it's
looking at.
Russia suggests that Austria
should leave its little brother
Austria inquires as to whose
army will assist Russia in
compelling it to do so.
Germany appeals to Britain
that France has been looking at
it, and that this is sufficiently
out of order that Britain should
not intervene.
Britain replies that France can
look at who it wants to, that
Britain is looking at Germany
too, and what is Germany
going to do about it?
Germany tells Russia to stop
looking at Austria, or Germany
will render Russia incapable of
such action.
Britain and France ask Germany
whether it's looking at
Turkey and Germany go off
into a corner and whisper.
When they come back, Turkey
makes a show of not looking
at anyone.
Germany rolls up its sleeves,
looks at France, and punches
France and Britain punch
Germany. Austria punches
Russia. Germany punches
Britain and France with one
hand and Russia with the
Russia throws a punch at
Germany, but misses and
nearly falls over. Japan calls
over from the other side of the
room that it's on Britain's side,
but stays there. Italy surprises
everyone by punching Austria.
Australia punches Turkey, and
gets punched back. There are
no hard feelings, because
Britain made Australia do it.
France gets thrown through a
plate glass window, but gets
back up and carries on fighting.
Russia gets thrown through
another one, gets knocked out,
suffers brain damage, and
wakes up with a complete
personality change.
Italy throws a punch at Austria
and misses, but Austria falls
over anyway. Italy raises both
fists in the air and runs round
the room chanting.
America waits till Germany is
about to fall over from
sustained punching from
Britain and France, then walks
over and smashes it with a
barstool, then pretends it won
the fight all by itself.
By now all the chairs are
broken, and the big mirror over
the bar is shattered. Britain,
France and America agree that
Germany threw the first punch,
so the whole thing is
Germany's fault . While
Germany is still unconscious,
they go through its pockets,
steal its wallet, and buy drinks
for all their friends.

Saturday 14 August 2010

Time for Brains!

Was in the Old Brewery Quarter of Cardiff the other day and took this photo of the old clock which used to look out over the brewery yard and now overlooks the alfresco eating/dining and of course residential area that the area now is. The date below the clock refers to the building of the new brewhouse, brewing on the site having occurred since at least 1713 and perhaps a lot longer.

Old Swan, Llantwit Major

Old Swan, Church Street, Llantwit Major, CF61 1SB
Hosting a beer festival this weekend  (13th-15th August 2010)

The Old Swan is a sturdy, stone-built slate-roofed building, dating back to medieval times and situated in the historic heart of Llantwit Major, opposite the medieval town hall. The Old Swan dates back to the 16th Century when it was the home of the Raglan family but there are claims that there was a building on this site way back in the 11th Century. During the Civil War the pub minted its own coins. Today Llantwit Major is easily accessible via the train service from Cardiff and Bridgend.
The entrance doorway on the front is an old wooden door and there is an old stone mounting block close by. The dark and cavernous interior, with candle-lit tables, hints at the age of this pub with old fireplaces, oak beams and stone arches appear with a likeable unregularity throughout this pub which has served some famous visitors throughout the years. William Randolph Hearst owned the nearby St Donat's Castle and famous guests were often transported into the town to try out this traditional pub. The interior of this pub has changed much over the years, so much so that one of the stone arches is now a feature behind the bar. The flag-stone floor adds to the character of this ancient hostelry as do the stone-framed Tudor windows. 

The bar is made out of old Bass beer barrels and hops decorate the ceiling along with pumpclips of real ales that have been served here over the years. Newspapers are available to the side of the bar for customers to read. The real ales change often and the chalkboard above the bar informs the customer what beers are coming on next. Regular local breweries that feature are Wye Valley, Breconshire, Rhymney Otley, Felinfoel and Vale of Glamorgan as well as beers from further away such as Northumberland and Weatheroak (Birmingham). There is also a selection of bottled beers which include Tomos Watkin OSB and Cwrw Braf as well as Rhymney Dark and Export. Gwynt Y Ddraig cider is available in bottles. At weekends, up to four real ales are available, though during the week this number may drop to two or three. The Old Swan also holds a annual beer festival in August.
There is heated outside area for smokers and in the summer the outside drinking area makes an attractive place to have a relaxing drink as it overlooks the town square and war memorial.
Food menus are extensive with separate chalkboards for special, children and dessert menus.
There is another room to the rear of the building, this features pool tables and a jukebox. The Old Swan is the oldest pub in Llantwit major and well worth seeking out.

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Wednesday 11 August 2010

Rug-Munchers moan about new Cardiff Bar

Now I'm all for freedom of choice when it comes down to drinking, there are plenty of bars in both Newport and Cardiff that I would never consider drinking in, however when an American company wants to spend money opening a new a bar in Cardiff, you would think that the residents of that city would welcome such an investment in the City. Newport is dying at the moment, today I noticed a pound shop having a half price sale and no pub company or brewery in their right mind would choose to open a bar in the City. Cardiff on the other hand is a vibrant City with a choice of traditional locals, superpubs, cafe bars and also somewhere people and their businesses want to invest in. Last week it was announced that an American theme bar by the name of Hooters wants to open in Cardiff, causing much outrage and even a protest from the rug-munching-denim-overall-wearing-not-using-imac-brigade. Okay darlings, we supposedly live in a free-market economy - if a company wants to open a perfectly legal business then they should be allowed to. What happened today in Cardiff, outside the John Lewis Department store, was that the objectors to the opening of the perfectly legal business were soliciting autographs from shoppers in order to present a petition to Cardiff Council Licensing Department to stop Hooters from being allowed to open, without explaining any of the facts about the comapny.
Hopefully Cardiff council will ignore these signatures as they are being presented by extremely biased and possibly deranged groups of band-wagon followers such as Socialist Workers (sic) and other deniers of freedom of speech. Oh and the idiot American Ed 'My Ph.D. will be finished this year' has also joined the crusade. Last seen jumping up and down during a Cardiff general election result announcement right in front of the cameras for an election he was not even eligible to vote in, it does make you wonder why he continues to push his authoritarian and communist ways onto the people of this country. Perhaps it's because in the Land of the Free his deranged outbursts would be ignored by all and sundry and he would soon find himself receiving the psychiatric help he is evidently in need of.
 Anyway back to Hooters, a business which does not force anyone to work for them and if you choose to work for them you get your uniform and by the smiles on the faces of the workers, it looks like they have a good time.
If you doubt the ethics of the company, please check out the Orange Pride section of their website. Hooters are one of the few companies that have ever come out well in an episode of Undercover Boss and has made outstanding improvements to empower their staff afterwards.
So if you support the free market and job creation then please join the Facebook site, "SAY HELL YEAH TO HOOTERS IN CARDIFF" but also take a minute or two to wonder why we need this discussion in a so-called free society. Lets face it if the Cardiff feminists and their loony left allies want to stop the exploitation of women then a trip to Riverside at night is worth doing.

There is a Twitter Group for hooters_cardiff but it might be a spoof.

Brains Black now in cans

From SA Brain Press Release:
Brains’ decision to enter the competitive stout market has paid off. Just five months after launching Brains Black in pubs and the brewer has canned the beer for sale in Tesco stores throughout Wales.

The ‘classic Welsh stout’ was developed to provide stout drinkers with an alternative to the market leader. And it seems to be hitting the mark. Early sales figures show that it is proving to be a popular alternative among beer drinkers who have been tempted by the taste, price and provenance.

Richard Davies, Sales and Marketing Director at Brains said: “We always believed that Brains Black would sell, but you never really know how a product will be received by customers until you take it to market. Thankfully it has done better than any of us could have expected, which has given us the confidence to launch it to Tesco.

“It was never our intention to compete with more established brands, simply to offer Welsh consumers a credible Welsh alternative. Brains Black has proven that people are willing make the switch providing the alternative is a good one.

“It’s not only sales that have been encouraging. Independent research carried out just a month after launch reported that ‘Brains Black’ was familiar to 43% of Welsh beer drinkers*, which is an impressive result for a brand so young.”

Brains Black is available exclusively in Tesco stores throughout Wales. Its arrival in store means that the supermarket now stocks 14 Brains bottles and cans, including the ever popular SA, the newly launched IPA bottle and a mixed four pack.

Richard Davies added: “Three years ago we had just 3 brands available in Tesco, today we’re into double figures. It bodes well for the future and we believe that this area of the business will continue grow.”

Okay there ends the corporate PR stuff from Brains, now I did taste some of the draught Brains Black earlier this year and was impressed by its flavour - its not often you find a nitrokeg stout these with plenty of roast and chocolate flavour, who knows I may even have a can or two of this beer.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Welsh Cider Open Weekend

Gwynt Y Ddraig, the Welsh Cider & Perry Company will be opening the doors of their farm to the public again this weekend, although this time the weekend will feature live music and as such there will be a small charge of £5 per person per day, although this does include a pint or bottle of cider.
 On entry your hand will be stamped (different colour stamp for Saturday & Sunday) to indicate to bar staff and site security that you have entered the event via the main entrance.

Earlier this year, Gwynt won the International Cidermaker of the Year Award, so expect some excellent ciders and perries at the event this weekend.

According to Gwynt Cider, Visitors are welcome to camp over on the Saturday night but please note that the only facilities available are the portable toilets. If you are camping and plan to stay for the Sunday then please make this known to the staff on the gate so you can purchase the appropriate tickets for both days. (This will be a Saturday ticket and a Sunday ticket.) Please note that all campers will be visited on the Sunday morning just to ensure that they have purchased their Sunday ticket.

For those of you who attended the April open day you’ll remember that it was a tad busy so if you are planning to come we’d advise you to arive earlier rather than later, as if the numbers get too many we’ll have to stop letting people in as numbers are restricted… just to warn you, but hopefully it won’t come to that.

Please note that entry to anyone under the age of 18 is free but only with an accompanying adult and under 18s will therefore will not be supplied with an entry ticket or have the entry stamp applied to their hand. Anyone attempting to purchase an entry ticket but is lucky enough to appear to be under the age of 18 will be asked to produce photo ID.

This summers’ open days will once again cover our usual theme but due to an overhaul of our cider press, unfortunately it’s unlikely that we will be able to provide you with a demonstration of apple milling and pressing with our modern belt press over the weekend. This work is essential for us to ensure we have a trouble free 2010 Autumn, as we will be processing over 400 tonnes of cider apples and pears. Instead, however, we are going to take a step back in time and show you how we used to do it by winding up our 19th Century double screw press – pictured below (we will be using a modern mill).

Freshly prepared food will be available throughout the weekend from Cegin Crincae, Thomas Baguettes, La Creperie de Sophie, pasties and pastries from in a pickle.

A selection of music will be played over the weekend with Saturday revealing a number of local bands (including Plod, 3d Binge and Tetris Prime), then on the Sunday we present The Mangled Wurzels along with Ross Kirk. It’s going to be a great weekend!

Opening hours:
11-2100 on the Saturday 7th, 12-1900 on Sunday 8th August 2010

Gwynt y Ddraig Ciders Limited
Llest Farm
Llantwit Fardre
CF38 2PW
Tel: +44 (0)1443 209 852
Google Map:

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The farm is easily reached by public transport from Pontypridd or Talbot Green. Alternatively catch the bus from outside the Otley Arms after alighting from the railway station. Llest Farm is signposted from the main road and parking is available at the farm. Llest Farm is situated a short distance uphill from the main road and is about halfway between the Crown and Bush pubs, the entrance road is signposted and adjacent to an old chapel.

From Brew Wales

Tortoise Torturer to open Temperance Bar in Cardiff

A man who admitted causing Animal Cruelty plans in inflict a similar torture on the residents of Cardiff by opening an alcohol-free bar in the City-Centre. Ian Crosby who is banned from keeping animals for 5 years wishes to serve alcohol-free beer, cider, cocktails and champagne to the thirsty customers of Cardiff. Well after flogging your herpes-ridden tortoises by post selling crap such as alcohol-free drinks is hardly a step in the right direction is it? I have never tasted a decent alcohol-free beer as missed out tasting the Nanny-State brewed by the excellent Brewdog last year. The Kalibar brand and other such similar NABLAB drinks generally have a flavour that leaves the gnats at the brewery feeling well-drained and the customer thinking why the hell did they fork out for this pile of piss.
When I have been off the booze for some medical reason or another (yes, Dear Readers I have laid off it for a while now and again) I have always gone for squash or other similar drinks in the pub, not some chemical tasting fake beer.
The Trumpet of Truth has its take on the story here.

Monday 2 August 2010

Bell, Caerleon - Beerex this weekend

Bell Inn, Bulmore Road, Caerleon, NP18 1QQ
Open all day

Situated across the river from the Roman fortress of Caerleon, the late-medieval Bell Inn is unmissable with its large chimney stack projecting out into the road and honeysuckle growing against it. This type of building is known as a lateral chimney house and when originally built the fireplace would have heated a large open hall, the present ceiling and first floor being inserted in the early seventeenth century. The stone-built fireplace has been partly filled in with building stones over the years but its arch shows how big it used to be. A black metal wood burning heater now stands in the fireplace, nowadays ample enough to heat the pub in winter. Above the fireplace are hung some of the awards this pub has won throughout the years. The Bell was a coaching inn in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and next door was a large malthouse to produce the vital ingredient to the pub's beer.
On entering the Bell there is a restaurant area to the left and a bar to the right. Exposed stone walls, dark wooden beams and flagstone floors add to the ambience of this historic inn. Settles and wooden chairs provide the perfect resting place to sit back and enjoy the live Celtic Music on Wednesday nights or the Jazz & Blues Sunday afternoons. Paintings from local artists are displayed on the walls and are available to buy.
There are three real ales on the handpumps featuring beers from breweries such as Charles Wells, St Austell and Black Sheep. The fourth handpump is reserved for a cider from International Cider Producer of the Year, Gwynt y Ddraig and features a rotating cider from their range such as Dog Dancer, Black Dragon or Brown Snout. To the left of the bar is a chalkboard with the different ciders and perries available, the Bell specialises in cider and offers around 20 different types, both still and sparkling. The draught ciders are served from the cellar as well as from the handpump on the bar. The Bell has previously won CAMRA Cider & Perry Pub of the Year for Wales and has even been a finalist in the UK national competition. The ciders often find their way onto the Bell's menu, being used as an ingredient in their award-winning chef's recipes.
The Bell features a car park to the side of the pub and there is a split-level outside drinking area decorated with colourful garden plants towards the rear. The Bell also hosts regular beer and cider festivals throughout the year, the next one will be over the weekend of the 6th to 8th August and will feature live music and a barbecue to wash down the fantastic ales and ciders that will be available.

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NB Alight by the Ship pub before the bridge

Milliband announces plan to Save British pubs and bananas

Labour leadership hopeful and banana fan David Milliband MP has announced plans to Save British Pubs. In what some may say is a cynical attempt to grab headlines, the son-of-a-commie has put forward a three-point plan and offered to 'stand up for pubs', especially those that serve bananas.
According to David Millibanana, “One of the biggest problems facing pubs is the ‘tie’ – forcing some pub landlords to buy their bananas and other services solely from the pub companies (‘pubcos’) they rent from.

"This means many of them pay over the odds, which reduces their profitability and increases the price for drinkers and banana fans alike.”

He says licensees should be allowed to opt-out of the tie. “Tackling this anti-competitive practice would help ensure a fair price for drinkers and help community pubs stay open and continue to serve bananas.”

The Labour Party had 13 years in Government to do something about this but did nothing except hoist on the industry more tax and red tape. Has he finally had his Damascus moment and realised that after 13 years of misrule the industry needs help? He calls for a dedicated pubs Minister to be reinstated; a pre-election gimmick brought in during the last months in the Brown Bunker when the bonkers PM was desperate to appeal to voters after his disastrous reign.

There is an elephant in the room with regards to why pubs are closing at 40 a week at the moment; the smoking ban. The industry is too afraid to address this matter and no politician has the guts to stand up against the health lobby. The Brew Wales editor is an occasional smoker and always has a cigar or two on National No Smoking Day as a big screw you to the Nanny State. If a majority of customers wish to smoke in an area of a pub or club set aside for that purpose then why shouldn't they be able to?

Hurns to sponsor Ponty RFC

Award-winning Swansea Brewery Tomos Watkin. part of the Hurns Group, will become a major sponsor of Pontypridd RFC for the 2010-11 season.
Gareth Howells, Sponsorship & Marketing manager for Pontypridd RFC said, "Braf –o!" to Tomos Watkin on joining our black and white family. We welcome Connie Parry and the Hurns group on board for what will be an exciting season of rugby with a club that has one of the best rugby brand names in Wales and the world.
We hope that we can help put Tomos Watkin on the map, especially as we contest the British and Irish Cup cross border competition, and that in partnership we can both enjoy mutual levels of success."
Established over 100 years ago, by 2002 Hurns had grown into one of the largest independent producers and distributors of beer in South Wales.

Since then its Tomos Watkin Ales have won awards and accolades throughout the country whilst its CEO Connie Parry has recently been named ‘Welsh Businesswoman of the Year’.

Connie Parry said, "I am delighted that our Award Winning Welsh Brewery will be associated with such a popular and successful club as Pontypridd . We look forward to a long and successful partnership with the supporters, players and club and wish you every success for the new season."

With a core of six distinctive ales such as Cwrw Haf, Cwrw Braf, OSB and Dark Mild the company also brings out a number of new beers each year to celebrate special occasions or events.

This vibrant, forward-thinking company now owns a number of pubs, employs more than 100 people, sells its ‘Great Ales of Wales’ across the globe, is a significant investor in South Wales and continues to go from strength to strength.

Artisan Brewery festival this Saturday

Saturday 7th August will see Cardiff's smallest brewery, Artisan, open its doors again for another Micro Beer Festival. Open at noon with music from 1400 hrs.

More details on the Facebook site here.

Music lineup:
Habana Flex
Whistling Biscuits
Brian Humphries
Johnny Alchemist
Siobhan McCrudden
Matthew Joseph

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